My Pet is Lost – What Do I Do Now?

Losing a pet under any circumstance is devastating for families. Many think that it can’t or won’t happen to them. A staggering statistic in the United States is that 1 in 3 pets will become lost in their lifetime! Follow these tips so you know what to do if this ever happens to your pet!

macro photography of brown and black lost cat signage on black bare tree

What do I do if my pet goes missing?

  1. Contact your primary veterinarian, local animal shelters, your local police department, veterinary hospitals, and animal control agencies.
    • File a lost pet report with every shelter within a 60-mile radius of your home and visit/call the nearest shelters daily, if possible. Many pets found wandering are first taken to police departments or the nearest veterinary clinic.
  2. Search the neighborhood.
    • Inform your closest neighbors that your pet is missing as soon as you can.
  3. Advertise.
    • Print a recent clear photo of your pet and post it (in permissible areas) in the immediate area of your home with your contact information.
  4. Try the internet.
    • It doesn’t hurt to spread the word and share on your social media profiles. You can ask friends/family to share/repost, as well. You can also try sharing to any local community online groups.
    • There are also great resources to help broaden your search, fast. A few local resources are below…
  5. Don’t give up your search.
    1. While the first 24 hours are critical in recovery, there are many reunions that occur days, weeks, or even months after being initially reported.

Prevention and Proactive Measures

The best measures to keep your pet safe can fail. We hear many times that a cat doesn’t need to be microchipped because they live indoors only, or that a dog doesn’t need to be on a leash because he never goes anywhere on his own. Unfortunately, accidents happen; doors are left ajar, deer run past the dog in the yard, or any other number of mishaps and distractions occur. These are the moments when pets become lost. Without proper identification, getting them back to their owner is infinitely harder!

  1. Keep identification collars on your pets, even indoor-only pets, in case of an accident.
  2. Microchip your pet. It is an inexpensive measure to have lasting and easily identifiable information available to the finder of your pet.
  3. Always leash your dog when out on a walk, hike, or outside of a fenced area. Additionally, make sure you are using the right size harness, and proper length of the leash, and that both are secure prior to beginning walks.
  4. Be sure to repair any broken areas of fencing in your yard promptly, and regularly check for holes under fences or latching mechanisms that may be failing.
  5. Practice a reliable recall. If your dog happens to get away from you while on a leash, having an immediate backup of reliable manners training can help avoid a crisis.
  6. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your pets in a secure area when leaving the house, bringing in groceries, or while contractors are in and out of the home.

If you have any questions about microchipping, registration, proper harness/leash setups, or anything else pertaining to keeping your pet safe and secure, please give our office a call to speak with a member of our staff.

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